Search Term: " Women s "
Take this happy pill: Deficiency in vitamin D is linked todepression among urban Malaysian women
March 25, 2019 05:48 PM
Vitamin deficiencies are running rampant around the world, impacting a substantial amount of individuals. Over 70% of Malaysian women in urban areas tested positive for a vitamin D deficiency, specifically. The reason so many Malaysian women are prone to vitamin D deficiencies is because they have darker pigmentation, and they are heavily restricted in many forms of clothing. The lack of sunlight exposure due to these characteristics is what potentially contributes to an increase in levels of depression.
"Based on the study findings, over 70 percent of the urban Malaysian women surveyed were vitamin D deficient."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-21-deficiency-in-vitamin-d-is-linked-to-depression.html
Is magnesium the secret to ending PMS? Vitamin eases headaches andcramps
February 20, 2019 03:49 PM
The vast majority of women will suffer from common PMS symptoms like cramps, insomnia, headaches, anxiety and mood swings. Roughly five percent of women will suffer more serious symptoms — known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder — involving anger and depression. However, studies suggest that women who take a daily magnesium supplement suffer from less severe PMS symptoms, possibly because magnesium helps promote higher levels of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter which helps regulate sleep. Women who experience exhaustion as a central PMS symptom are particularly likely to need more magnesium.
"According to PubMed Health, during this time, some women feel a wide range of physical discomforts, such as abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, backache, headaches, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, possible sleeping issues and digestive discomfort."
Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6697649/Is-magnesium-secret-ending-PMS-Vitamin-eases-headaches-cramps.html
The Best Vitamins for Women
August 05, 2018 09:53 AM
Almost 75 percent of women would have a vitamin deficiency if not for multivitamins, and even with multivitamins many women still have at least one. Water-soluble vitamins like A, C, and E play roles that include boosting immunity and protecting both skin and vision. Vitamin K improves cardiac health and blood clotting. Folate is especially crucial during pregnancy, but folate and other B vitamins are always important to many body systems. It is also important to get adequate supplies of iron, iodine and other minerals and fatty acids, too.
"While it’s possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from careful food selection and a nutrient-dense diet, research shows many women still experience at least one type of nutrient deficiency, if not more."
Read more: https://draxe.com/best-vitamins-for-women/
Reasons why Women need probiotics more than men
October 06, 2017 01:14 PM
Probiotics are good bacteria. They can be found in yogurt and many other foods. They aid digestion and have other benefits. This talks about what they do for women. Men need probiotics too but not as much. Women can benefit a great deal from them so should try to incorporate them into their diet. Wome can't take their health seriously enough. There are many problems which can arise if they don't pay attention to what's going on.
"If you have a low probiotic count, you may consider taking probiotic supplements too which are available in the form of pills, liquids or nutritional supplementary powders."
Read more: https://reportshealthcare.com/reasons-women-need-probiotics-men/
Pregnant women are not getting enough omega-3
September 30, 2017 01:07 PM
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for everyone. Pregnant women need them but aren't getting enough. This may be due to the fact that women are told to avoid certain fish during pregnancy but that is a common source of these important fatty acids. They are found in other foods, though, so it is still possible to get enough of them. If you are pregnant and don't know what to eat you can ask a doctor or dietician. You need to be healthy so the baby inside you can also be healthy.
"The first ever study on the intakes of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnant women in New Zealand, has found only 30 per cent are getting the recommended daily amount."
Read more: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-09-pregnant-women-omega-.html
5 things you can do to slow down brain decline as you get older
September 04, 2017 09:14 AM
"5 things you can do to slow down brain decline as you get older" gives ideas on how to slow down cognitive function with age. Each suggestion that is mentioned reports that studies have been done to back-up the statements given. The article suggests that sex can slow down brain decline either by social or biological impact or a combination of both. The amount of sleep a person gets can affect their brain health. Being a part of social, mental and physical activities can also help. Societies can affect brain decline because of stereotypes about activities done by men verses women. Stereotypical social activities done by women slow down brain decline. Lastly, the article suggests that being proactive early in life will have more benefits than waiting until brain decline has already begun.
"It's time for us to take a lifelong approach to keeping our brains healthy as we age."
Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/5-things-you-can-do-slow-down-brain-decline-you-get-older-1636689
The Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
July 25, 2017 09:14 AM
A major tv network has come out with a story about matcha. This is a green tea that has been ground into powder. Matcha has become a favorite with models and is offered at Starbucks. The article explored whether the item is really healthy or just another "in" thing that will fade over time. The article cited a study which showed matcha resulted in higher levels of alertness. Another study found matcha reduced stress in mice. Several photos and links are included.
"Mind you, green tea is caffeinated and matcha is an even more caffeinated form of green tea, containing approximately 34mgs of caffeine where traditional green tea averages at about 30mgs and an espresso has around 60mgs, but the L-theanine in matcha prolongs its mood-boosting effects"
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/much-ado-about-matcha-it-really-healthy-ncna783886?cid=public-rss_20170720
SURGEONS ARE DUMB TO DISCOVER THAT THIS MIXTURE ELIMINATES SAGGING!!
May 04, 2017 11:44 AM
Sagging is something many people discover as they age. Lots are horrified by it. There are creams and other things which can supposedly cure it but most are expensive and don't even work the way they are supposed to. Women spend tons every year trying to eliminate this problem. Apparently this mixture does work, though. It's up to you whether or not you want to try it. There is no definitive proof about it of course.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8km6ICQc_c&rel=0
"Do not continue to risk your life undergoing dangerous surgeries to eliminate sagging. Start this treatment today and in a matter of weeks your sagging will be gone."
Bone health: Here's why you should be eating anti-inflammatory foods
February 03, 2017 07:59 AM
If you have chronic inflammation from leading an unhealthy lifestyle adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can help. New research is suggesting that regularly eating vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains, could boost bone health and prevent fractures in women. Foods that fight this inflammation include green leafy vegetables - such as spinach, kale, and collards - nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
"It's a natural part of healing, but chronic inflammation could have a negative impact on your body and your health."
Best Foods To Fight Bladder Cancer || Health Benefits of Mushrooms
January 29, 2017 10:19 AM
The ABC Health video describes the health benefits of mushrooms. They have iron, few calories, increases vitamin D, have good antioxidants which fights free radicals, they have selenium which helps stave off bladder cancer in men and women. They also boost your immune system which helps your body fight off bacteria. They also contain B Vitamins which are essential to the body
"To Day I Am Going To Tell You Health Benefits of Mushrooms , mushrooms ?r? loaded with essential nutrients. Mushrooms ??nt?in good-for-your-bladder selenium and, lik? us, th?? produce vitamin D when exposed t? sunlight."
Can Prunes Reverse Bone Loss?
December 20, 2016 02:59 PM
There has been some research that supports the theory that eating prunes can prevent and possibly reverse bone loss. Unfortunately, this research was done on mice, and involved eating prunes as 25% of their diet. A similar study done on Women showed comparable results, but they were also taking vitamin D and calcium supplements. There was no control group in the study taking just the supplements without eating prunes. Given this information, it is too soon to conclude that the prunes were mainly responsible for the change in bone health.
"The study went on for one year, during which both groups also took calcium and vitamin D supplements."
How much protein you need a day
November 06, 2016 10:09 AM
According to dietician Robbie Clark, there is a certain amount of protein that each person should consume each day. The amount does depend on several different factors, such as gender, age, weight, health status, and physical activity. The general rules are that Women should have 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and men should have 0.84 grams per kilogram of body weight. Children vary according to their age and weight, and pregnant Women should have at least 1 gram per kilogram of weight. Physically active and elderly people require more protein than others.
"There are multiple factors that play a role in determining how much protein you need in your diet."
The fantastic pumpkin seed
November 02, 2016 10:49 AM
Mention pumpkin and you think Halloween jack o’lanterns. Come Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s pumpkin pie. Or maybe pumpkin soup. Yet nobody talks of the two powerhouse nutritional part of the pumpkin – pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. From improving bladder function, easing arthritis to thwarting heart disease and providing anxiety relief, it’s the seeds where the magic of the pumpkin is.
"a condition characterized by a sudden urge to urinate that may lead to an involuntary loss of urine Researchers estimate that 16 percent of men and Women suffer from overactive bladder symptoms such as urination urgency as well as frequent daytime and night urination."
Rhodiola an ancient medicinal plant to help you cope with modern life
The plant Rhodiola Rosea, most commonly known as Rose Root, and also by the names Golden Root, King's Crown, Lignum Rhodium,Racine Dorée or Rodia Riza, is recognized throughout the world for its many proprieties and has been used since antiquity to treat and prevent a number of conditions - it has even been featured in De Materia Medica written by the ancient physician Dioscorides. This Scandinavian herb, is native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and even Alaska.
It is an adaptogen, a substance that can normalize bodily functions and augment resistance to physical, chemical and environmental stress. It is also neuroprotective, thus, promoting longevity. There has been evidences of its use as a medicinal plant, under many names, in both Greek and Chinese medicine, but there are also accounts of its use by other past populations like the Vikings.
Rhodiola has been used to promote vitality both physical and psychological, since it can reduce fatigue and exhaustion, and conversely increase stamina, strength and mental capacity.
Nowadays, it has been used to improve daily life: for increasing sexual performance and hearing, to treat depression and to counter, aging and certain heart disorders. It is also used by athletes to reduce recovery time after long workouts. There are even some that use the rhodiola plant to prevent against common colds.
However, since there hasn't been long term studies on humans, there isn't of yet confirmation of some of the benefits of this medicinal plant. While there isn't reliable information pertaining to side effects, pregnant and lactating Women should consult their physicians prior to taking rhodiola or avoid it for the duration of the pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Combat Depression With Fish Oil
January 21, 2015 05:19 PM
What is a depression?
Depression can occur at any age and is a disorder of affective state, which leads to a state of sadness or hopelessness for a period. Depression is thought to be disease of the century as more and more researchers are trying to find an effective remedy to combat this disease. Lately, several studies are trying to prove that fish oil can affect a person’s mood and is an effective remedy for preventing and treating depression.
According to a Japanese study published in September in the journal Pediatrics, fish oil especially that obtained from sardines and salmon helps male teens feel less depressed.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in fish oil. Because these nutrients play an important role in brain function, many researchers wanted to find out if a higher consumption of EPA and DHA leads to a decrease in the risk of depression. The results showed that an increased consumption of EPA and DHA influences positively the mental state and mood of adolescents.
According to Japanese researchers, fish oil has not the same effect in the case of adolescent girls. The different effect of fish oil in boys and girls is difficult to explain, a possible cause being that Women show a genetic risk of depression significantly higher than men do.
Source of Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acids improve the functionality of the brain in children, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and prevent cancer. This fatty acid are found in fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel, in nuts, linseed oil and rapeseed oil. Fish oil is the best source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Since our body is unable to synthesize EPA and DHA, in order to prevent depression, is necessary to supplement our diet with supplements rich in these acids. Experts recommend a daily intake of 0.5 grams of omega-3- the equivalent of four meals of fish consumed over a week.
Recently, doctors have put on the list of antidepressants, the fish oil. Their argument is that the human brain is almost entirely made from fat - about 60%, especially DHA and phospholipids. Fish oil has in its composition the precious DHA and for this reason, many doctors recommend it as an antidepressant. The arguments of doctors are strengthened by studies, which show that people who consume omega 3 fatty acids are more optimistic and cheerful.References:
Benefits associated with Argan Oil
March 11, 2014 05:35 PM
Argan oil has become quite popular in Morocco and across the world owing to the numerous argan oil benefits equally in the field of beautification and nutrition. Argan oil may be taken internally by incorporating it as an ingredient in cooking meals and dishes and likewise it can also be applied externally upon the skin and other areas of the body. This type of oil is important in the maintenance of a vibrant and well-nourished skin. It is regarded as a better moisturizer than commercially-made ones mainly because it's all-natural and safe for anyone, even for youngsters and pregnant women.
Argan oil as moisturizer
The reason why argan oil really is a good moisturizer is mainly because it is rich in fats. It's a nice addition to the beauty regimen of pregnant women mainly because it's safe and it is effective of reducing the possible appearance of stretch scars on the skin. It also presents protection for the skin because it maintains the pH level of the skin keeping it shielded from the harmful radiation of the sun, smoke, dust and pollutants amongst others. One of the most efficient uses of this oil is its potential to maintain healthy skin when it is used on a regular basis.
Some benefits of argan oil
Just one of the many argan oil benefits is its power to actually prevent the incidence of acne and its potential to slow down the aging of the skin. The oil inhibits acne by regulating an oil made by the body called sebum, which when produced on an increased quantity can cause acne breakout. The oil can promote faster renewal of the skin, keeping it hydrated, moisturized and well-nourished. It is present in the beauty regimen of many Women simply because it keeps their skin free from wrinkles and young-looking.
The value of argan oil when it comes to excellent nutrition and overall health is also highly noteworthy. It pretty much keeps the body's immune defense strong giving the body great protection against diseases. Not only that, argan oil can be applied as a preventive agent to defend the body from particular types of cancers such as prostate cancer. It can also stabilize the sugar level in the body, hence, it can be used by those who are suffering from diabetes. It also keeps the the circulation of blood going preventing heart attacks, strokes and also other heart problems and keeping the body healthy. It could also actually lower down cholestrerol levels in the body.
There are still numerous argan oil benefits which makes it a popular commodity among the folks of Morocco and the rest of the world. Many are still not educated on the many benefits this oil can deliver to the body but it has been tested by the people of Morocco and by researchers who have conducted a study on the benefits of this miracle oil.
Myrrh oil health benefits
February 21, 2014 05:04 PM
Know what Myrrh essential oil is
As you have probably read somewhere else, Myrrh oil is an aromatic resin that comes from trees belonging to the genus commiphora. It has a unique sweet and smoky aroma. Myrrha, hirabol myrrh and bola are other alternative names that people use frequently when referring to myrrh oil. Known to contain cadinene, cuminaldehyde, a-pinene, acetic acid, m-cresol, eugenol and formic acid, this pale yellow oil has been the source of debate due to its many benefits which go back to the time of ancient Egyptians.
Why take myrrh oil?
Modern scientific research has found evidence suggesting that myrrh has a wide range of uses that are beneficial to boost the health condition of an individual. Myrrh is an amazing extract that can be used in aromatherapy to effectively treat colds, coughs, insomnia and sore throat. In the digestive system, the oil is widely used for indigestion and ulcers treatment. Women and young girls find it necessary to increase their menstrual flow using normal remedies but have failed. However, this sap-like oil does not only increase the menstrual flow but it also relieve painful periods and ease difficult labor in childbirth.
For all medical dental infections, the oil is included when mixing a mouthwash. On the skin, it has great success when wiping out bedsores, boils, cracked skin, skin ulcers, athlete's foot and eczema. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes used as an ingredient in many skincare products, creams and lotions.
Myrrh is also purported to treat certain cancers and tumors. The extract from Commiphora trees is highly effective against the gynecologic cancer cells. When used as an anti-oxidant, amazing results are achieved in protecting against lead induced hepatotoxicity.
When can you start taking myrrh resin?
It is recommended to take myrrh essential oil three times in a day or as needed. Pregnant and nursing Women should start using it after consulting a qualified practitioner. It can be used as a dietary supplement for children when they reach the age of six years.
Can Butcher's Broom Boost Cardiovascular Health?
October 30, 2013 09:48 PM
Where to find Butchers Broom
The butcher’s broom also known as ruscus aculeatus is an evergreen low shrub that grows in the Eurasian region. It is known to produce greenish flowers that are small sized and blooms during Spring. It has leaves that produce red berries after the falling off of its female flowers. It is reputed among native cultures as much as asparagus, with the roots been eaten in various preparations.
It is mainly recurrent in woodland as a result of bird-spread though is now grown as a garden plant in regions across the world. It has general names like the pettigree, Jews’myrtle, sweet broom, petit houx and knee holly. Its roots are deployed as medicines in different remedies.
It has been used as an effective tool to constrict capillaries and blood vessels by herbal and alternative medicine practitioners. Its efficiency in constricting blood vessels is considered to result from the constituent chemicals. This prevents the veins from pooling blood thereby improving the flow of blood in the hands, brain and legs.
It has been used to heal fractures and reduce swelling, as well as treatment for hemorrhoids and gallstones. It is reputed for constipation relief and ease of urine ejection.
As a result of its wide application and effectiveness, the German Health Commission listed it as a useful for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is advised in medical circles that its use by pregnant Women should be subject to consultation of a qualified medical practitioner to avoid possible contraindications and safeguard the fetal balance.
Clinical research is still open in several fronts to ascertain its virility and possible side effects as a result of the widespread usage across the globe by alternative medicine practitioners for a variety of medical conditions. This evidently will provide clues as to acceptable dosage and prescription in the years to come.
4. botanical.com: Broom, Butcher's
Wonders Of Elderberry
October 25, 2013 07:56 PM
The bushy like appearance, which characterizes this elderberry tree is what makes it noticeable in and around Britain. Its name means fire, which is because of a certain goddess happened to consider this tree sacred and after she passed on, it was believed that her soul continued to reside in the tree.
With this belief, the residents used to grow the Elderberry around their homes and farms, as they believed that it had powers that could protect them from all kinds of evil things. For protection to be accorded to them, they had to offer sacrifices and prayers to it so as to be assured that they would be covered. Shrines were also made in regards to the tree, where all individuals would converge and offer thanksgiving prayers to it.
The Healthy Benefits of Elderberry
There are many health benefits associated with this wonderful tree and they go on to offer medicinal value as well as ensuring a general sense of well being in the body. It is seen as helping in the chest and nose congestion, which is evident in individuals who have all sorts of allergies. This is especially important for them because it enables them have temporary relief before getting medication from the doctors.
Common infections in Women such as yeast are also catered for when it comes to the Elder tree as it constitutes the required substances that are responsible for taking care of the yeast infections.It also builds up the immune system, which helps the body to be able to fight against diseases that cause the body harm. Antioxidants are also present in the elder tree and they are at high levels, which allow the individual to choose whether to get the antioxidants from it or from modern medicine.
It is believed that every part of this tree has medicinal value, so embracing the many benefits of this tree is important because it is all rounded.
The Role of Glycine in Collagen and Its Remarkable Health Benefits
March 17, 2013 08:41 AM
Collagen is basically made up of several amino acids and one of which is glycine. This particular amino acid accounts 1/3 of the entire composition of collagen. It can be found in the third position in the sequence of the amino acids. One of the fundamental roles of this amino acid is that it reduces the water solubility of collagen by a hundred folds. Contrary to the fact that it's considered as a non-essential amino acid, glycine has many health benefits aside from being a part of the collagen synthesis. The details below present some of the most essential information that you ought to know about this collagen component. Here they are:
Glycine Synthesizes Normal DNA and RNA
DNA and RNA are genetic materials necessary for the proper cellular formation and function. Glycine prevents the breakdown of the muscle tissues by increasing the body's creatine levels which is a compound that builds muscle mass. High concentration of this amino acid can also be found in the skin and connective tissues in the body and it keeps them flexible and firm. Without glycine, the body won't be able to repair damaged tissues.
Glycine Keeps the Central Nervous System Healthy
Studies had shown that this amino acid is an inhibitor of the neurotransmitters that can cause seizures, hyperactivity and bipolar depression. As a matter of fact, it can be converted into serine which is a neurotransmitter beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia. Researchers found out that schizophrenic patients exhibited significant improvements after adding glycine with their anti-psychotic medication. It was also found out that it improves memory. Glycine Promotes Proper Function of the
This amino acid is known to induce bile acid production which is used to digest fats. It is also often included in most over-the-counter gastric antacid agents to prevent and treat acid reflux. Glycine Provides Glucose Specifically, this non-essential amino acid is also considered as glucogenic amino acid. That simply means that it provides glucose in the body. One of its benefits includes regulation of blood sugar levels, so it can be helpful in treating symptoms manifested by low energy and fatigue.
Glycine May Help With Cancer
Preliminary studies considered this amino acid as another breakthrough in cancer treatment. Results suggested that it can prevent the development of cancerous cells as it acts as an inhibitor of angiogenesis which is a process in which tumors, benign or malignant, develop their own blood supply.
Sources of Glycine
High-quality protein foods such as white meat from fish and chicken, beans, legumes, eggs and milk are known to be the main sources of this amino acid. Glycine supplements are also available in tablet or powder forms and can also be one of the components of many amino acid supplements. Except for some people complaining about having stomach upset and dizziness after taking glycine supplements, there are no other noted adversarial or severe side effects of glycine. If taken properly, such supplementation is extremely safe.
Who Should Not Take Glycine?
Those individuals suffering from kidney and liver diseases should never take glycine. Pregnant Women should never take as well. People taking antispatic medication are not allowed also since there could be interference between the drugs and glycine. It's always best to consult a doctor first before taking such supplement.
Those are all the most notable benefits of glycine. The point here is that it is not just a mere part of a collagen but it also has a number of health benefits.
Why Would You Want A Time Released Chromium Supplement?
January 03, 2013 04:34 PM
Chromium is an important trace mineral for carbohydrates and fats processing by the human body. With the recent eating habits of refined foods, it's generally naturally deficient to many people. It's recommended to consume at least 50 micrograms of it each day. Similarly, the eating habits of today expose majority of people to diabetes. Chromium plays a major role in helping the body cells respond to insulin.
In addition, a sufficient level of the mineral availability to the body leads to lower insulin necessity. On the other hand, its deficiency in the body has been associated with diabetes. It helps prevent diabetes by aiding insulin in glucose metabolism as well as preventing insulin resistance for victims already using insulin shots. It's generally low in the blood but it plays a major role of enhancing insulin efficiency thereby helps control blood sugar levels.
You can get chromium from foods like broccoli, green beans, grape juice, potatoes, bananas, beef, orange juice and apples. There are also supplements that come in various forms and strengths. For instance, there are chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, chromium polynicotinate, chromium GTF and many others. These supplements differ in their absorption rates but have been proven in several studies to lower blood sugar as well as cholesterol. Some supplements are also safe to take alongside other medications. However, such a decision should always be taken with the consent of a medical doctor.
Victims of type 2 diabetes have usually been found to have low levels of chromium in their bodies. Due to this reason, supplements have greatly assisted such individuals tackle diabetes. Similarly, Women suffering from gestational diabetes have had their blood sugar levels drop after using chromium picolinate. The dosage to use varies but many doctors prescribe 1000 mcg every day for victims already suffering from diabetes. Vitamin C has been found to hinder the uptake of chromium. It's, therefore, essential to watch out what you are consuming if you will be taking the supplements.
Sustained release chromium will help keep blood levels high with this important mineral and help one manage their blood sugar better.
Benefits Of Blue Cohosh Root
December 27, 2012 10:38 AM
The Blue Cohosh Root is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the family 'Berberidaceae'. It is also known as 'Squaw Root' and produces fruits that resemble blue-berries. The foliage too has a bluish hue to it.
History Of The Blue Cohosh
Blue Cohosh is the native plant of North America. In the ancient times, it was commonly referred to as the 'Womens Herb' believed to bring relief during menstruation, relieve cramps, regulate erratic periods and facilitate or induce labour before delivery. Studies suggest that women consumed an infusion of the root a couple of weeks before they were due for giving birth.The plant, supposedly, acted on the uterus in some way. Also, the root was decocted into a strong drink which was then used as a contraceptive.
Blue Cohosh root may be used for certain medicinal purposes though its safe use is still a contentious issue. It might have a role in stimulating the uterus or acting as a laxative and relieving painful colic conditions. Some people believe it to be a beneficial remedy for sore throat, hiccups, muscular spasms, epileptic cases, joint problems etc. The root has similarities to the hormone called 'estrogen' which is found in the female body. The root can be used in its fresh or dried form both. It can be used alone or as a blend of other herbs. Some people also use it as a coffee bean substitute.
Those who should avoid blue cohosh are:
However, it is recommended that it should be taken under professional advice and supervision of a physician to prevent any untoward side-effects. People suffering from heart ailments, diabetes or diarrhoea and pregnant Women should avoid the root. There are incidents that prove the negative effect of the Blue Cohosh on the kidneys if used excessively. It is best to use the Blue Cohosh in a controlled and supervised manner.
Benefits Of Blue Cohosh Root
December 21, 2012 05:04 PM
The Blue Cohosh Root is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the family 'Berberidaceae'. It is also known as 'Squaw Root' and produces fruits that resemble blue-berries. The foliage too has a bluish hue to it. History Of The Blue Cohosh Blue Cohosh is the native plant of North America. In the ancient times, it was commonly referred to as the 'Womens Herb' believed to bring relief during menstruation, relieve cramps, regulate erratic periods and facilitate or induce labour before delivery.
Studies suggest that women consumed an infusion of the root a couple of weeks before they were due for giving birth. The plant, supposedly, acted on the uterus in some way. Also, the root was decocted into a strong drink which was then used as a contraceptive.
Blue Cohosh root may be used for certain medicinal purposes though its safe use is still a contentious issue. It might have a role in stimulating the uterus or acting as a laxative and relieving painful colic conditions. Some people believe it to be a beneficial remedy for sore throat, hiccups, muscle spasms, epileptic cases, joint problems etc. The root has similarities to the hormone called 'estrogen' which is found in the female body.
The root can be used in its fresh or dried form both. It can be used alone or as a blend of other herbs. Some people also use it as a coffee bean substitute. However, it is recommended that it should be taken under professional advice and supervision of a physician to prevent any untoward side-effects. People suffering from heart ailments, diabetes or diarrhea and pregnant Women should avoid the root. There are incidents that prove the negative effect of the Blue Cohosh on the kidneys if used excessively.
8 Major Benefits of Nattokinase
February 18, 2012 07:18 AM
The need to live and eat healthy has grown other years. However, every time you hear of a new health supplement or food type, you are never sure of its exact impact on your wellness. But for nattokinase, you can be sure that is benefits to your health are true. Here is how your body benefits from the use of nattokinase.
Background Information of Nattokinase
Before you learn about its advantages , here is a little background on this supplement. Nattokinase or natto is a wholesome and nutritious Japanese food that is derived from soybeans. In its native country,it is taken with rice. To make natto, boiled soya beans are mixed and fermented with a bacterium referred to as Bacillus Natto. After the fermentation process, the enzyme nattokinase - the main active ingredient in the supplement- is produced.
One of the best known effects of natto is that it reduces clotting in blood by dissolving fibrin. When fibrin escapes to blood, it binds platelets together resulting in a clot. In young people, production of plamin - an agent that reduces synthesis of fibrin - is at its maximum. However, as people get older and in some disease conditions, less plasmin is produced thus the risk of developing clots. Natto contains agents that work like plasmin and therefore is used in place of plasmin.
By countering the production of angiotensin converting hormone (ACE), natto lowers the pressure of blood. The hormone mentioned above reduces the elasticity of blood vessels; consequently, the vessels become narrower. Narrow vessel lead high blood pressure. In addition, by making the blood vessels soft and supple , it increases the supply of blood to all parts of the body.
Body cells need proteins to grow and function optimally. However, as people age, the ability of the body to utilize and absorb proteins is reduced. As a result, skin cells grow don't rejuvenate quickly. Natto contains high levels of proteins and vitamin K2 - a well documented anti-aging factor.
Nattokinse and cholesterol
Nattokinase reduces the bad cholesterol in the body by transporting it from the blood vessel to the liver where it's eliminated. Moreover, natto prevents osteoporosis by lowering the rate at which calcium is removed from the body. By taking nattokinase, the risk of heart diseases especially those that plaque blood vessels is reduced.
Other Health Benefits of Nattokinase.Prevents loss of hair.Soothes the muscles and reduces pain joints.Lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease.Prevents other diseases that are caused by clots in blood. What more! So far there are no serious health side effect are associated with the use of this product.In any case, the Japanese have been using this product for a long time.In fact, the generally low levels of heart diseases in its native society are associated to the use of nattokinase. However, lactating and pregnant Women should only take this and other supplement after medical advice.In addition, if you are to undergo surgery, please be sure to consult your surgeon before use. Above all, you must read all the manufacturers instructions and recommendations before use.
Chaste Berry a Women Herb
February 08, 2012 11:51 AM
Other names of Chaste Berry- Monk's pepper, Chaste-tree Berry
Chaste Berry is the fruit found on Chaste tree which is botanically known as Vitex. Chaste tree is a decidous tree that grows in a well-drained, acidic soil in full sun. Vitus agnus castus or Chaste Berry is a native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia but now is grown throughout the world. The tree belongs to Verbanaceae family and can grow to a height of 22 feet. It was traditionally used by men in ancient Greece and Rome to reduce sexual desire, treat menstrual disorders and other hormonal problems and as an anti-microbial agent against infections. It is also known as 'Women's Herb' as it regulates hormonal imbalances and promotes women reproductive health. Aside from its medicinal use, it was used as a peppery condiment. Some of the constituents included in Chaste Berry fruit are flavonoids (casticin, orientin, isovitexin, kaemferol), glycosides (aucubin and agnuside) and essential oils (linalol, sabinene, pinene and limonene). These phytohormone compounds help in regulating the female hormones production and normalising testosterone and progesterone activity.
Effects of Chaste Berry:
ChasteBerry controls and regulates overall female reproductive system.
1. It helps to manage Pre-Menstrual Syndrome: Pre-Menstrual Syndrome is associated with several uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from mood swings to fatigue and hot flushes. Chaste Berry is known to be rich in progesterone that helps to ease out the disturbing symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome.
2. It helps to normalize menstrual irregulaties: Imbalance in prolactin levels in the body can lead to various complications in Women such as amenorrhoea (absence of periods), breast tenderness and reduced milk production in lactating mothers. Chaste Berry balances natural production of prolactin hormone in the body and effectively treats menstrual irregularities and other symptoms such as tenderness of breast and reduced milk secretion.
3. It treats menopausal discomforts: Some women experience dicomfort and other menopausal symptoms that affect their daily routine life. The hormone regulating properties of Chaste Berry help in easing menopausal symptoms such as mood swings and hot flushes and several other physical symptoms associated with hormone deficiency during menopause.
4. It improves overall female reproductive health: Chasteberry has been found to be effective in treating fibroid cysts especially of smooth muscle. It also reduces heavy bleeding associated with perimenopause.
5. It helps in treating Hormonal acne: Hormonal acne are due to imbalance in androgen hormone levels. Increased androgen levels in the body leads to excessive sebum production that causes acne. This wonder herb regulates the androgen levels in the body and thereby helps in treating moderate and light acne. Another way in which this herb prevents acne formation is its anti-bacterial property. The bioactive essential oils present in Chasteberry have anti-bacterial properties that prevent the survival of bacteria. Chaste Berry contains linoleic fatty acid which is responsible for regulating sebum production.
Chaste berry modulates the hormone prolactin with the neurotransmitter dopamine. The active ingredients such as polyphenols in the herb indirectly affects hormones and neurotransmitters and regulate the hormones.
Chaste berry herb is a safe and natural treatment for many women related problems.
How Does Progesterone Cream Help Ease Hot Flash Symptoms?
June 21, 2011 11:01 AM
Progesterone And Hot Flashes
Progesterone cream is an all natural remedy for hormonal imbalances in the female body. It has grown in popularity in the past few years largely owing to very strong anecdotal evidence. Its use in the management of hot flashes has produced very encouraging results, and thus has become a mainstay of alternative treatment for vasomotor symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.
Plants contain fats and oils that can be modified in the laboratory to partially synthesize progesterone. The active ingredient of most progesterone creams in the market is diosgenin, which is a plant sapogenin that occurs naturally in wild yams. Diosgenin has long been noted for its steroidal activity inside the human body, but it has been successfully converted to progesterone only recently.
Reverses Estrogen Dominance
The concept of estrogen dominance is central to the appearance of hot flashes. A group of medical professionals believe that vasomotor symptoms are brought on by fluctuations in hormonal levels, among other factors. While both groups of female sex hormones experience changes, progesterone is thought to approach near depletion in comparison with estrogen. Hence, the latter dominates.
Progesterone creams work on the principle of reversing estrogen dominance. They are formulated to facilitate optimum absorption into the body. While their active ingredients, such as diosgenin, have been noted to produce estrogen-like activities when unmodified, progesterone creams function exactly in the same manner as endogenous secretions of progesterone.
Increases Progesterone Levels
Hot flashes are often linked to changes in body temperature. It has long been postulated that hormonal imbalances have an effect on the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. It is believed that depleting levels of progesterone lead to a series of chemical reactions that confuse the biological thermostat, resulting in vasodilation of blood vessels close to body surfaces.
Progesterone creams effectively relieve hot flashes because the active ingredients are capable of penetrating the part of the skin that leads to the blood vessels. There is very good evidence that topical applications of progesterone are readily absorbed. Since fats and oils from plants have high absorption rates, progesterone creams are certain to increase progesterone levels in no time.
Normalizes Hormonal Changes
There has not been any contraindication associated with the regular use of progesterone creams as most of them are formulated in concentrations suitable for use at any time of the day. In fact, it can be applied to the skin even in the absence of hot flashes to prevent any vasomotor symptoms. A growing of body of literature has noted its efficacy in managing hormone-related imbalances.
More importantly, progesterone creams have shown great promise in stabilizing hormone levels in the long run, making it an ideal remedy for Women suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Also, it is very likely to help women who are surgically menopausal as they experience very intense episodes of hot flashes that last until the natural age of menopause.
Grab some progesterone today and feel the relief it can bring!
October 06, 2009 01:22 PM
Goldenseal was used by the Native Americans as a tonic, for sore throats, eye infections, ulcers, and even arrow wounds. It was also used as an insect repellant and pesticide for crops. When boiled in water, it was used externally for skin conditions. The dried root of the goldenseal plant was official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1831 to 1842 and was readmitted in 1863 to 1936.
Traditionally, goldenseal has been used for many different conditions. Among these are boosting the glandular system, hormone imbalance, congestion, inflammation, female problems, infection, bronchitis, menstrual problems, catarrh of the bladder, gastritis, ulcers, bowel stimulation, antiseptic, and as an immune system builder. Those with low blood sugar or pregnant Women should not use this herb.
Recent studies have determined that goldenseal is beneficial in fighting viruses and infections. This herb contains the alkaloids hyrastine and hyrastinine, which possess strong astringent and antiseptic benefits on the mucous membranes. The berberine that is found in goldenseal, and can also be found in barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread, is effective in fighting infections of the mucous membranes, which includes the mouth, throat, and sinuses. It has also been found to kill toxic bacteria in the intestinal tract like giardiasis, which is found in streams of North America. Goldenseal can help to relieve diarrhea in cases of giardiasis, amoebiasis, or other gastrointestinal infections.
The alkaloid content of goldenseal gives it its antibiotic properties. Goldenseal has a long history of use for fighting both colds and flu viruses. The berbine content is effective as a natural antibiotic and immune stimulant. The herb may also help to prevent candida infection which is the result of antibiotic use. Goldenseal is thought to help strengthen the immune system and may work by increasing the blood supply to the spleen. This enables the spleen to function and release compounds which are known to improve immune function. Some herbalists in England consider goldenseal to be the wonder remedy for digestive problems. This herb is recommended for use after the onset of a cold instead of as preventative action. For this reason, it is often found in cold remedy combinations.
The rhizome and root of the goldenseal plant are used to provide adaptogen, alterative, anthelmintic, antibiotic, antiperiodic, antiseptic, cholagogue, emmenagoggue, hepatic, nephritic, stomachic,, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium sodium, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely helpful in treating bronchitis, poor circulation, colds, colitis, colon problems, coughs, diarrhea, eye infections, gonorrhea, gum disease, hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, infection, inflammation, intestinal problems, kidney problems, liver disorders, excessive menstruation, membrane infections, mouth sores, nosebleeds, and sore throat.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with allergies, hay fever, asthma, Bright’s disease, burns, chicken pox, constipation, earaches, eczema, fever, flu, gallbladder problems, gastric disorders, gastritis, glandular problems, heart conditions, herpes, membrane irritation, nausea, nervous disorders, ringworm, skin disorders, spleen ailments, tonsitilits, and urinary problems. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by goldenseal, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
L-Alanine Non Essential Amino Acid
January 05, 2009 04:31 PM
L-Alanine is one of 20 amino acids that are used by the body to manufacture the proteins essential for life. Each protein possesses specific biological properties that are imparted by the sequence of amino acids it contains. Proteins control the chemistry that takes place within the cells of our body, and comprise all of the enzymes that catalyze the body's biochemistry.
Amino acids are also the building blocks of DNA that determines the genetic make-up of individuals, and that also provides recipes or templates for the production of proteins from amino acid sequences. There is a different DNA template for every protein required by the body that determines which of the 20 amino acids are needed, and in what order they are to be combined with one another to manufacture the desired protein.
10 of these 20 amino acids can be synthesized by your body's biochemistry, the other 10 being essential parts of your diet. If you fail to include just of these 10, then your body will break down its proteins until it has obtained a sufficient supply of that amino acids for its needs. That involves muscle and other tissue degradation, and is one of the symptoms of malnutrition. Amino acids are not stored, and a daily supply is essential to avoid these symptoms.
L-Alanine is one of the ten that the body can manufacture, and used by the body to help build protein and also to enable the body to make use of glucose to generate energy. It does so as part of what is known as the glucose-alanine cycle. During anaerobic exercise, such as in weightlifting and sustained running, muscles produce lactate and also alanine.
The alanine is passed on to the liver where it is converted to energy via its conversion to glucose. This is not a particularly efficient means of creating energy because a byproduct of the process is urea, the removal of which in turn requires energy. However, it serves its purpose as an energy source once the liver is depleted of glycogen. In fact that is the major use to which alanine appears to be put by the body: the conversion of glucose to energy.
The way the glucose-alanine cycle works is that a process known as transamination produces glutamate from the amino groups of amino acids that are degraded during exercise. Glutamate is then converted to pyruvate by means of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase, with the production of alanine and alpha-ketoglutarate. This is a reversible reaction, and after the alanine has been carried by the bloodstream to the liver, the reaction reverses with the regeneration of pyruvate that undergoes gluconeogenesis (generation of glucose).
The result of this is glucose that returns to the muscle tissue to provide more energy. The glutamate is broken down to the ammonium ion in the mitochondria, which in turn enters the urea cycle with the production of urea.
In a nutshell, then, the glucose-alanine cycle removes glutamate and pyruvate from muscle tissue to the liver where glucose is generated from the pyruvate and returned to the muscle. Since gluconeogenesis involves the expenditure of energy, and this occurs in the liver rather than in the muscle, all the energy in the muscle can be used for muscle contraction.
L-Alanine possesses other properties, among them the ability to help maintain the health of the prostate. A study of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) indicated that treatment with L-alanine, glutamic acid and glycine over a period of three months reduced the symptoms. However, make sure that you consult your physician before using alanine in this way. This is not because there are any known adverse side effects, because there are not, but because it I always wise to so with any supplement taken with a view to treating any medical condition.
A less obvious application derives from the fact that it forms a stable free radical when deaminated. Deamination can be initiated by radiation, and so the concentration of this free radical can be measured to ensure that the correct dose of radiation is being given in dosimetric radiotherapy. It is not always easy to control the dose accurately, and this property of alanine allows it to monitored and to ensure that it is neither too low to have the desired effect, nor dangerously high.
Although it is a non-essential amino acid, and can be produced by the body, a dietary supply or supplement is advantageous if extra energy is required. Good dietary sources of L-alanine include meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, brewer's yeast, corn and legumes among others. Supplements are also available, and useful for body-builders, weightlifters and others involved in anaerobic exercise. Due to the glucose-alanine cycle, it can possibly provide energy when lactate build-up would otherwise lead to muscle cramps.
Those for whom a supplement could be useful are athletes and others who are trying to build muscle and stamina, or reduce their body fat and also the obese and overweight for the same reason. There is also evidence that a combination of the amino acids alanine, glycine and arginine can help to reduce arterial plaque from oxidized low density lipoproteins, and can also help to reduce high blood pressure.
Deficiencies are rare, although groups that do not eat meat should be careful to eat foods with a good alanine content. There are no known side effects of a deficiency since the body will generate what is needed for normal purposes, and while the supplement appears to have no side effects, it is advisable that pregnant and lactating Women should first seek medical advice. The same applies if you suffer from hypertension or diabetes. High doses of alanine might also affect those with kidney or liver disease.
Although the benefits of supplementation of L-alanine might not be immediately obvious, the results and the science indicate that it is effective in making better use of blood glucose in that the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) created in the muscle tissue is allowed to be expended on muscle contraction while the glucose-alanine cycle provides the energy needed for gluconeogenesis.
Cat's Claw Bark
December 19, 2008 09:54 AM
We are currently living in a time when vital health issues that greatly affect our families are a huge concern. Cat's claw has been shown to offer a huge array of therapeutic actions, as it is currently drawing a huge amount of attention in health-care. Because cat's claw has anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral capabilities, it is currently being widely used in Europe for the treatment of cancer, aids, arthritis, and several other degenerative diseases.
Cat's claws emergence could not have been better timed, as many people feel that the war on cancer is being lost, with new potentially fatal viruses continuing to evolve and the over-prescription of antibiotics making us even more vulnerable to infection. Recently, taking supplements such as cat's claw is becoming more of the rule than the exception.
It is safe to say that almost all of us want to know how to reduce our risk of cancer, protect ourselves from toxins and pollutants, boost our immune system to fight off new viral strains and bacterial diseases, and prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases. Additionally, many of us have found that treating the disease after the fact is much less desirable than the protecting our immune systems, as a well-nourished and healthy immune system can keep us from developing diseases, including cancer. Cat's claw has the ability to fortify immunity, works to scavenge free radicals, and eases inflammation.
Cat's claw was traditionally used by Peruvian natives in a variety of applications. They apply its leaves for headaches, use teas for infections including influenza, and have placed plants in antipyretic baths for fevers. Additionally, gargles are used frequently and poultices of the boiled crushed bark have been applied to affected areas. Peruvian tribal medicine has also vigorously rubbed infusions of the raw bark on parts of the body, such as the limbs. The vines of cat's claw are often macerated with a pestle or stems are allowed to stand in water for several hours. In Peruvian culture, snuffing or smoking the dried leaves or bark occurs on occasion. Also, enemas are used in some regions of the tropical South America, but they are relatively rare in the Amazon.
Cat's claw can be taken in many forms including a dried, powdered form that is usually available in gelatin capsules; compressed tablets; a decoction or tea; or a liquid suspension that are in the form of gels or extracts, which can often be taken in soft gelatin form. Some experts seem to think that cat's claw extracts have not yet proven their potency and therefore, they recommend taking reliable sources of the plant which use the inner bark of the vine. The alkaloid content of some plants can vary significantly because of many different factors, so only reputable sources of cat's claw are recommended to be purchased.
Many studies that have taken place in Europe have shown that cat's claw has extremely low toxicity, even when it is taken in large doses. Anyone who has had a transplant or any pregnant or nursing Women should not take cat's claw. Taking cat's claw can potentially cause diarrhea or adjust bowel consistency in some people.
If one is looking for a immune boosting herb from the Amazon look no further, cat's claw can help the sick get well and keep the healthy person free from disease by boosting the immune system.
October 30, 2008 01:39 PM
National press has recently taken an interest in the benefits of folic acid, with coverage increasing throughout the media. Folic acid, a B vitamin and other folates helps the body to form red blood cells and aids in the formation of genetic material within every body cell. Folic acid also helps to prevent birth defects. Proponents of dietary supplements have encouraged the use of folic acid by women who are of the child-bearing age for a long time.
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of this nutrient to prenatal development. In a survey done by U.S. Health and Human Services in 2007, about 40% of all Women surveyed reported the daily consumption of a supplement that contained folic acid, while about 42% of Women surveyed reported that folic acid is the most important vitamin for women of child-bearing age. This study also found that awareness of the benefits differed by age group. Younger women were the least likely to know about the benefits of folic acid, and therefore, were the least likely to consume folic acid. These younger women were also more likely to hear about folic acid from a magazine or newspaper or school or college, rather than their health-care provider.
On the contrary, the women who aged 25-34 and 35-47 were much more likely to hear about folic acid and its benefits from their health-care provider. Because of these results, the U.S. Health and Human Services considers it vital to increase young person education and awareness. Folic acid has long been known to help prevent birth defects. Recent research on folic acid shows that it may also help in preventing premature births, boost baby weights, prevent preeclampsia, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cut male smokers’ stroke risk.
Folate is determined from the term “foliage,” and is a member of the B vitamin family where it can be primarily found in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, beets, meat, and wheat germ. Folic acid does not occur in nature and cannot be found in unfortified foods. It is not an active form of the B-vitamin. However, it is the most common form of folate used is supplements and in fortified food products due to the fact that it is highly bioavailable and chemically stable. It is also readily reduced to tetrahydrofolate, which is the active coenzyme form of folate. One study, comparing folic acid from orange juice and folic acid from a supplement showed that the supplement had a better absorption rate than the fortified orange juice.
Although folic acid is not generally associated with side effects, there have been some clinical reports that high level of folic acid can mask a deficiency of vitamin B-12. However, a deficiency of B-12 is very uncommon and it has been determined that only amounts about 3000 – 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid for extended periods of time may have this masking effect, which can in turn be eliminated by supplementing with a few micrograms of B-12. For more information about folic acid and its benefits to your body, contact your local health food retailer.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in rocky roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant Women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased capillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
August 12, 2008 01:34 PM
Similar to everyone else, you probably have an occasional period where you’re down in the dumps. But don’t fret; feeling a little bit down every now and then is normal. But when these low feelings persist, you may be in trouble. If they deepen over time no matter what you’re doing to change them, then chances are that you are truly depressed. True depression occurs as a result of a loss of interest in nearly everything that once gave you pleasure. These pleasure feelings are replaced by an all-consuming feeling of emptiness and numbness which may be related to clinical depression.
Clinical depression is another matter, this form of depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for long periods of time and prevents people from leading a normal life. It is a treatable medical condition and is characterized by persistent and sometimes severe feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. There may also be disturbance in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, regret, shame, grief, diminished ability to concentrate, and repetitive suicidal thoughts.
Having five or more of these symptoms for a span of two weeks or longer is categorized as clinical depression. However, there are shades of gray when it comes to being emotionally down, from low moods all the way to major depressive episodes. Dysthymia is a lot less severe than depression, but it lingers sometimes for years, allowing people to function adequately but consistently feeling unhappy. Bipolar disorder also causes people to have severe high and low mood swings, while seasonal depression is another form that rounds out the category.
According to a global study, depression may be the most disabling disease in the world. Researchers found that depression can worsen health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Those who have depression and one or more chronic diseases are in the worst health of all. It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression, with up to 25 percent experiencing an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime and Women suffering twice as much as men do from major depression.
Suicide is strongly connected to depression and is the third-leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds, with most depressed people never seeking treatment. Those who are undiagnosed and untreated allow depression to worsen and last for years of untold suffering. About 15 percent of people with major depression die from committing suicide. Major depression is a life-threatening illness that should be treated by medical experts. There is no test that can diagnose major depression. However, it is important to rule out other medical problems that have similar symptoms as those of depression.
Depression is usually treated with medications and counseling. Natural remedies may also be effective in the treatment of depression, especially in those cases that are mild to moderate. Additionally, many nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors are involved and it is important to recognize that these factors are not only important for depression, but also for our total health. Getting people healthy gets them less depressed, generally speaking, and there are three supplements that can help ease the symptoms of depression naturally.
Lithium, which is a prescription drug for bipolar disorder, is a simple mineral with benefits for the nervous system to improve mood and cognition. Since patients with depression often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, proper DHA levels are essential for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help with depression symptoms.
Finally there is SAM-e, a molecule that naturally occurs in the cells of plants and animals, works well as an antidepressant without causing side effects for most people. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you may have clinical depression or when you start any new vitamin supplements with medication and never exceed the recommended doses on the bottle with out a doctors help.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant Women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
May 22, 2008 11:45 AM
Damiana can be used by both men and women. It is known to have restorative effects on reproductive organs in both sexes.
For men, Damiana is known to raise levels of testosterone. It is also helpful in treating premature ejaculation and impotence. For women, it helps to induce delayed menstrual periods and ease the symptoms of painful menstruation. It also treats the headaches Women sometimes get due to menstruation.
This herb has been widely advertised and used in Mexico as an aphrodisiac. The ancient Mayans used it as a sexual stimulant and people in Central America still use it in this way today. This use is controversial due to lack of scientific evidence to support the claim.
One study found some of the plant's compounds to be similar to those found in progesterone. More than 150 herbs have been tested for their ability to bind with the progesterone and estrogen receptors found in breast cancer cells. Damiana was one of the highest progesterone-binding herbs tested.
The herbal properties of Damiana have a life enhancing and stimulating effect on the body and mind. The herb works well on nervous exhaustion and to restore the body after periods of high stress.
Damiana's stimulating action is considered very valuable to people who suffer from mild depression. Herbalists will typically recommend remedies that contain this herb. Damiana is very strong and aromatic, and has a slightly bitter taste. It can be found in different forms such as capsule, liquid extract and tea. Its leaves are used as a substitute for tea leaves in some countries. In other countries, it is used as flavoring in a variety of liqueurs.
Damiana acts as an antiseptic and tonic for the body. It is also a restorative agent for nervous system functions. Damiana is used for other conditions as well, although no scientific proof of its effectiveness exists. These conditions include:
* Asthma * Anxiety * Depression * Headache * Menstrual disorders
Damiana has been known to cause mild indigestion for some users. It also contains a compound called arbutin, which, in the urinary tract, converts into the chemical hydroquinone. Larger amounts can cause serious side effects such as:
* Convulsions * Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) * Nausea * Vomiting * Possible collapse and death
A maximum safe dosage of Damiana has not yet been determined. Also, the safety of using this herb has not been established in children or pregnant and nursing women. People with liver or kidney disease should use extra caution because their ability to safely use this herb is unknown as well.
In people using higher doses of Damiana, it is believed that they experience a mild euphoric sensation. In some cases, consumption of Damiana leaves has been known to act as a mild laxative. The more leaves consumed, the more prominent the laxative effect.
Damiana is native to parts of southern California and the Gulf of Mexico. It can also be found growing wild in some areas of the northern Caribbean Islands and Namibia. It is widely cultivated in these areas. Its preferred habitat has a hot and humid climate. It flowers in the summer and this is when the leaves are harvested. The leaves of the Damiana plant are the only part used for cultivation.
The herb can be taken in the form of a tea. Some people even smoke it like tobacco. The herb will bring about a relaxed state of mind for the user. It is said to induce a subtle high if smoked.
Damiana possesses many properties that are useful to both men and women. Research continues in an attempt to either prove or disprove claims of its benefits to humans.
Cranactin - Cranberry Extract
May 21, 2008 10:24 AM
Cranberry is a fruit native to North America. It typically grows in bogs, and commercial production is mainly performed in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
For ages, cranberry has been used for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Research suggests that it prevents bacteria from adhering to host cell surface membranes. It was used by Native Americans to treat ailments of the bladder and kidneys. The cranberry was documented in the 17th century as a treatment for several ailments, including:
* Blood disorders * Liver problems, vomiting and stomach ailments * Loss of appetite * Scurvy *Cancer
Cranberry was used as an effective treatment for urinary tract infections long before antibiotics were invented. It is still recommended by physicians to be used in conjunction with a prescribed round of antibiotics for treating bladder infections.
Statistically, one in every five women in the United States suffers from bladder infections in her lifetime. Three percent of these Women suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Approximately 11 million women each year receive medications to treat UTIs. Studies show that women with a history of bladder infections can reduce the frequency of those infections by regularly drinking cranberry juice.
There have been no significant reactions discovered between cranberry and prescription drugs. Drinking cranberry juice a minimum of three times per day during treatment of a bladder infection will increase the need to urinate. This helps your body to rid itself of the infection through ingestion and expulsion of fluids.
Pharmacology of Cranberry
The use of cranberry for medicinal purposes has been the subject of many scientific discussions. At first, it was thought that acidification of the urine assisted in creating an antibacterial effect. However, the primary reason that cranberry works so well for treating bladder infections is its prevention of bacterial adhesion to cell walls. It also prevents adherence by other gram-negative uropathogens that cause infection. Cranberry's ability to inhibit the adherence of bacteria has been shown through in vitro research.
One study showed that the same property in cranberry juice that prevents bladder infections also aids in dental plaque prevention. Additionally, cranberry has been discovered to be a recommended treatment for Candida (yeast) infections.
Further in vitro studies show that cranberry has an inhibiting effect on certain types of fungi. However, there are no human trials that indicate its effectiveness in treating fungal infections when used alone.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
The most common symptom of an oncoming bladder infection is feeling a constant, urgent need to empty the bladder. This feeling is present even when there is little or no fluid in the bladder. Other symptoms may include:
* Frequent urination * Dysuria (burning or painful urination) * Bladder spasms * Cloudy urine * Bloody urine * Foul-smelling urine * Mild fever
A bladder infection that has gone untreated for an extended period of time could turn into a kidney infection. This brings with it much more serious symptoms which may include fever, chills and nausea. You may also experience cloudy or bloody urine, painful urination and abdominal pain. A common telltale sign of kidney infection is back pain just above the waist.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to contact your physician. Bladder infection symptoms will not go away by themselves. They will continue to worsen, and your infection will become much more serious. Treatment for bladder infections is quick and easy. The sooner you begin the better.
If you suspect that you are about to experience a bladder infection, begin a regimen of drinking cranberry juice or supplement at least three times a day and make an appointment with your doctor.
Preventing Bladder Infections
There are several precautions you can take to prevent bladder infections. Some may seem obvious or silly, but after your first infection you will think very differently. Some of these precautions include:
* Wipe from front to back after urination or a bowel movement. This prevents the spread of bacteria.
* Go to the bathroom frequently. Holding urine in the bladder for long periods of time invites an infection.
* Keep the genital area clean and dry. Avoid prolonged moisture in the area.
* Avoid frequent bubble baths. They can cause vaginal irritation.
* Try to urinate soon after sexual activity. If lubricants are used, use only those that are water-soluble.
* Underwear with a cotton crotch will aid in infection prevention as well.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Also, drink cranberry juice or cranberry supplement to keep the urine acidic. This will prevent natural bacteria from multiplying as frequently, thus avoiding bladder infection.
B Vitamin Supplements
May 07, 2008 03:18 PM
The fact that B vitamins have had to be coenzymated before they can be used by your body has been known for some time, but it is only over the past few years that they have been made commercially available in that form. Before we discuss the B vitamins in their coenzyme form it might be appropriate to discuss what coenzymes are and how they differ from ordinary enzymes.
An enzyme is like an organic catalyst: it takes part in biochemical reactions by allowing such reactions to take place, but itself remaining unchanged. All enzymes are proteins formed in your body from amino acids and other protein material. A coenzyme, on the other hand, is somewhat like an enzyme for the enzymes, in that it is needed for the enzyme to do its job. Without a coenzyme, many enzymes could not promote the biochemical reaction it is responsible for.
The B vitamins are all water soluble, which means that they are readily excreted and it is not impossible that if you take a B vitamin supplement, the whole lot will be immediately excreted in your urine if not used by your body. Whether they are or not it is a fact that your body can quickly become depleted of the B vitamin group, especially if you drink a lot. Alcoholics in particular are frequently vitamin B deficient. Although the liver can store unused vitamin B, they are only very small quantities and insufficient to prevent a deficiency.
A deficiency in the B vitamins can cause a wide range of unpleasant conditions that are rapidly remedied with supplements. Pellagra is due largely to a deficiency in Vitamin B3, and causes hair loss, horrible skin lesions and many other side effects that you don’t want to know about. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause loss of memory, and is common in alcoholics and some vegetarians (vitamin B12 is animal derived). Other symptoms of a general B vitamin deficiency include exhaustion, heart palpitations, fibrillation, anxiety, restlessness, attention deficit disorder and many, many more.
It is not pleasant so you make sure that take enough vitamin B in your diet: dietary sources are far superior to pills although supplements will help you get over the symptoms of the deficiency until your diet takes over. Supplementation is also a good way to maintain a regular supply of vitamin B complex irrespective of your diet. The effects of a deficiency are so bad that a regular supplement is well worth taking.
However, back to coenzymes and why they are needed for the metabolism of B vitamins in your body. Most B vitamins are, in fact, coenzymes themselves. Keep in mind that the definition of a vitamin is an organic substance that is essential for the normal health of your body. If you lack even one vitamin, your health with suffer and eventually you will be likely to die. That describes all of the B vitamins perfectly, and they also just happen to be coenzymes. This is not coincidence, of course, and their biochemistry must have been recognized before the concept of coenzymes was formulated.
The B vitamins proper consist of eight distinct proteins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin), and biotin and pantothenic acid. They are all essential components in human and animal metabolism, and most are also coenzymes.
Every cell in your body depends on B vitamins for its existence, which is why pregnant Women should include a good supply of them in their diet, especially folic acid (B9). They are essential for the cellular development of the fetus. Folic acid is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids that allow cell growth and the production of red blood cells. However, not one can be placed in importance above any other since they are all essential.
With respect to the coenzyme factor, the vitamin B coenzymes are responsible for many of the biochemical reactions upon which life depends. Coenzyme B-12 for example is essential for two types of reaction that it catalyzes, one being a hydrogen atom exchange with alcohol and amine functional groups, the other being connected with methyl group transfer between molecules.
In humans, the first of these is responsible for an essential step that results in energy being metabolized from fats and proteins in the mitochondria and the second for DNA production in cells that is indirectly responsible for growth. Each of these is why a vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to excessive fatigue and also a lack of fetal growth (although folic acid can make up for the latter deficiency).
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a coenzyme for the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy. In the body it is present in the form of thiamine diphosphate, a coenzyme that assists in the decarboxylation of pyruvate as part of the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, that takes place in the mitochondria and is responsible for the generation of energy through aerobic respiration.
Another coenzyme that is involved in the Krebs Cycle is formed in the body from Vitamin B3, or niacin. This coenzyme, nicotinamine adenine dinucleotide, has a redox potential and can store energy for use later on. Vitamin B5 can be converted in the body to Coenzyme A that not only breaks proteins down into individual amino acids, but also takes part in the first part of the Krebs Cycle. There is a common pattern emerging here where the B vitamins have an important part to play in the generation of energy from fats and carbohydrates.
Similarly, Vitamin B6 is present in the body as the coenzyme Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate that helps to break down the body’s emergency energy store, glycogen, into energy when needed.
In these ways, and more, the coenzymes created in the body from the B vitamins help many of the reactions of life to take place, and without these coenzymes life could not exist. Hence the importance of the B vitamins themselves, and any deficiency could be disastrous to the metabolic processes that generate energy and keep you alive. It is not just the energy needed for exercise and normal human activity that will be compromised, but also that which keeps the heart beating and your diaphragm moving to allow you to breath.
Without a doubt, a Vitamin B supplement is one of the most valuable of all the vitamin supplements, and they are available in many forms. You might also find some of the B vitamins in their coenzyme form, though some of them may be unstable. However, whatever form they are taken in, Vitamin B complex should be one of the first on your vitamin supplement shopping list.
April 30, 2008 03:03 PM
Sharks do not have skeleton of bone but of cartilage, which is a dense form of connective tissue. Its main components are cells known as chondrocytes that are responsible for producing collagen fibers, an elastic protein called elastin that is responsible for the skin returning to its original shape after being pinched, and ground substance that is rich in proteoglycan, a protein with glycosaminoglycan chains.
Shark cartilage is said to be beneficial in the treatment of many conditions including arthritis, psoriasis (allied to arthritis), rheumatism, eczema, acne, allergies and the most controversial – cancer. It is said to inhibit tumor growth by inhibiting angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels by growing them from old ones. This can lead to metastasis, or the spread of cancer between organs and also feed the cancer cells with blood.
Shark cartilage has been used medicinally for thousands of years, particularly in ancient China where its use is documented, and might also have been in other areas where the consumption of fish was high. However, the production of shark cartilage and its trade is not well documented. The major cartilage consuming countries are Australia, India, Japan and the USA, although it is used or consumed in many other countries, especially Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and, increasingly, Europe.
The best quality of cartilage is from the blue shark due to its higher chondroitin quality. Chemically, chondroitin is an acid mucopolysaccharide, and a very large molecule that is used for a variety of purposes. In arthritis it is difficult to get it to the source of the problem due to its physical size and large doses are used to ensure that at least a proportion passes through the capillaries to the joints.
Arthritis is a particularly prevalent disease and comes in two forms: osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops over a long period of time, and generally the cartilage roughens and becomes thin, while the bone becomes thinner. Extra synovial fluid, that lubricates the joint, can be formed and that causes swelling. The bone tried to repair itself, but degeneration continues and the tendons become affected. Eventually inflammation can occur leading to severe swelling and pain. There are several causes, the most common being injury or repetitive hard use of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is completely different, and is caused by the immune system rather than wear and tear. The immune system mistakes parts of your joints as being foreign, and attacks the synovial membrane, or lining of the joint. It might also attack the sheath around the tendons. This eventually causes the cartilage to thin and the joints to wear, and the inflammatory response can cause painful inflammations. There is no apparent cause, though heredity, lifestyle and hormones might all be connected.
The effect of shark cartilage on arthritis is well documented, and in one study in the 1970s, only 11% of patients did not respond well to a treatment of cartilage injections. The pain relief the injections provided lasted from six weeks to over a year, though no reason could be provided for the vast difference. However, it did seem to demonstrate that the remedy was more than just a placebo. In another study involving bedridden osteoarthritis patients, eight out of ten could leave their beds after only three weeks of oral cartilage treatment. Shark cartilage appears to be effective when administered both intravenously and orally.
In a later placebo study involving 147 arthritis patients, they were given either shark cartilage or a placebo. Those with the placebo were encouraged to use other treatments when their pain became severe. After five years the placebo group reported a 5% drop in pain scores compared to 85% of the group taking shark cartilage. The joint deterioration in each group was assessed, and was considerably less in the cartilage group, who also lost less time at work through pain.
All of these results indicate that shark cartilage can be used to relieve osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis pain in at least 60% of sufferers. Since rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to psoriasis, this could also explain its effects on psoriasis. What the studies did indicate is that you need not wait five years to find if the treatment is effective or not: if you do not experience positive results within between four and six weeks, then shark cartilage treatment will likely not work for you.
There is no doubt that shark cartilage can provide relief to painful, swollen joints, and this is likely due to the mucopolysaccharides. It can also prevent the undesirable growth of new blood vessels into the cartilage and appears to help to regulate the immune system. These are also two of the reasons why it is believed by some to be an effective treatment for cancer by preventing metastasis.
It was the publication of the book “Sharks Don’t get Cancer” that started the rush for shark cartilage as a a treatment for cancer, but the problem is that sharks do get cancer – they even get cancer of the cartilage! However, that does not mean that the scientific reasons for the inhibition of metastsis are invalid. They are valid, and it is metastsis rather than the original cancer that ferquently leads to death. Metastsis is the spread of the disease round the body by the bloodstream, and shark cartilage appears to be able to help to prevent that. It also prevents the growth of blood cells into cancerous areas to feed the cancers with oxygen and other nutrients.
Although there are few reported side effects of shark cartilage, in the interest of safety it is advised that children and pregnant Women should avoid it. The same is true of people recovering from recent surgery since it could slow healing due to its effect on repairing blood vessels. If you have a low white blood cell count, do not have a shark cartilage enema since it can cause a potentially fatal infection.
Otherwise it should be safe to take, and is available in many forms including creams, capsules, powders and injections. The recommended dosage is 1 gram dried shark cartilage for each 7 Kg (15 lb) body weight. Once you begin to see an effect on the pain of your arthritis, one can then try to reduce the dose to 1 gram for each 18 Kg (40 lb) body weight.
Cranberry May Have More Uses Than Just Bladder Infections
November 03, 2007 01:04 PM
The effects of cranberry on bladder and other urinary tract infections are well known. The infections are caused by a bacterium, Escherichia coli, known to most people as E. coli that attaches to the wall of the bladder or the urinary tract, and is very difficult to dislodge with antibiotics once it is there.
Cranberry contains a glycoprotein that prevents the E. coli from doing this, and so acts by preventing, not the invasion of the bacterium itself, but the mechanism by which it causes the disease. Drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis can prevent cystitis occurring in women, or at least reduce the frequency of incidences.
Now, however, there is a growing body of evidence that cranberry may have more uses than just for bladder infections. It is known to help prevent gum disease by the same mechanism: the bacteria are prevented from sticking to the teeth and gums by means of the same glycoprotein that is effective with E. coli and urinary tract infections
There is also evidence that cranberry juice can be helpful in resolving ear and respiratory infections. A study of a group of children in 2002 has indicated that cranberry juice can inhibit the adhesion to red blood cells of certain strains of the bacterium Haemophilus influenza that might cause a large proportion of middle ear infections. It seems to have an effect on the hair-like pili, by which bacteria stick to surfaces. This has been supported by results that indicated no effect on the bacteria strains that lack these pili.
These tests, however, were carried out experimentally in test tubes, but it is worth keeping in mind that such studies are under way, and that the results are looking very promising. However, they have not yet reached the stage where they can be stated to have been proved, though there is no reason why you should not try cranberry juice if any of your family is prone to such infections, especially of the middle ear.
Yet another study has established that cranberry might be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of blood cholesterol that makes it very sticky. There are two type of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol that carried the cholesterol from the liver through the blood to areas of your arteries that need repair. Your blood also contains high density lipoproteins (HDL) that carry excess cholesterol back to the liver for destruction and ejection from the body – that is the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol.
The LDL cholesterol works much like putty, covering the cracks in arterial walls, and without it you could have even more severe problems than with high levels of LDL cholesterol. However, when the LDL cholesterol gets oxidized by, for example, free radicals in the blood, then it becomes sticky and too much of it gets laid down on the artery walls.
Free radicals are produced through many agents, but the most common are smoking, environmental pollution and pesticides. These sticky coatings tend to build up after a time and lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis whereby the build up of coating can severely restrict the artery. This causes high blood pressure and can even lead to the artery becoming completely blocked. This can lead to serious heart problems and, if the artery is in the brain, even strokes.
In the study, a group taking one, two then three glasses of 27% cranberry juice daily for a month at a time were found have a 40% reduced risk of heart disease at the end on month three due to a 10% increase in the good HDL cholesterol. This was due to the antioxidant effect of the cranberry juice preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol which causes the problems. Antioxidants mop up free radicals before they can do any damage.
Cranberries contain a high polyphenol content, and it is believed that it is these antioxidants that are responsible, though this has still to be proved. This antioxidant effect can also reduce the risk of cancer, render you less liable to inflammatory conditions and also give your immune system a boost by helping to clear up the free radicals that are one of your body’s worst enemies. However, that is not all that cranberries can do. There are even more exciting new developments that could have an impact on Women suffering from ovarian cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention record that ovarian cancer is the 7th most common type of cancer in the USA, and the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths amongst women. The general treatment for ovarian cancer is by chemotherapy using the platinum drugs Paraplatin and Cisplatin. The problem with these drugs is that cancer cells can become resistant to them, and if higher doses are used it can lead to side effects including renal failure and nerve damage.
Tests were carried out using ovarian cancer cells and a 27% solution of cranberry juice, a common commercially available concentration. The cells were then treated with Paraplatin. It was found that the Paraplatin was six times more effective at killing the ovarian cancer cells than when the cells had not come into contact with the cranberry juice. This is a considerable difference. The rate of spread and growth of some of the other cancer cells were also reduced.
The reason that the cranberry was used was due to its wide range of potential health benefits in fighting stomach ulcers, cystitis and some other cancers. It is believed that the effect is due to very powerful antioxidants known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which are found only in cranberries. Other studies have found this chemical to have had an effect in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in lung cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, all involving different types of cancer cell. Other antioxidants such as flavenoids and querticin in cranberry juice might also contribute, but the proanthocyanadin is believed to be the principal active agent due it being found only in cranberries.
The researchers temper their results with the caution that these are tests only, but that theoretically a cranberry supplement could be used as a part of a chemotherapy course. Animal studies are commencing shortly though it will be some time before a new therapy has been developed. It is possible; however, that the therapy could consist of a simple oral dose of cranberry juice taken during the course, but you should consult your physician for the most appropriate treatment for you.
However, what is certain is that cranberry may have more uses than just bladder infections.
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant Women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
Enjoy Some Nuts Every Day
November 03, 2006 04:00 PM
Although high in fat, nuts contain oils that reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Nuts also contain potentially cardio protective components including phytosterols, tocopherols and squalene. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts were all found to be good sources of these compounds. Diets that included one or two servings of macadamia nuts a day have been shown in studies done in Brisbane Australia and Honolulu Hawaii to improve blood lipid profiles as effectively as low-fat, complex carbohydrate diets. Furthermore, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating nuts and peanut butter reduced the risk of type II diabetes in women. The researchers suggest that nuts might replace refined grain products, and red or processed meats as a way to limit caloric intake.
The Lowly Goober Gets New Respect
Americans eat more peanuts and peanut butter than all other nuts combined. A Pennsylvania State University study of 13,000 men, women and children revealed that peanut eaters have higher intakes of several hard-to-get nutrients compared to those who did not consume peanuts. Peanut butter and peanut eaters have increased levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, Calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and phytonutrients resveratrol, beta sitosterol and p-courmaric acid. What’s more, peanut eaters also had leaner bodies than non peanut eaters. This study helps to dispel the myth that higher-fat foods automatically lead to weight gain.
The peanut Butter Diet evolved from studies such as this that showed the benefits of eating peanuts and peanut butter, particularly their high satiety factor. In one small study, ten health workers aged fifty-plus, consumed 1500 calories healthy and moderate fat (35%) diet that included two tablespoons of peanut butter eaten twice a day. The woman had at least one cardiovascular risk factor – high blood pressure, altered blood lipids or diabetes. Peanut butter was chosen because previous studies at Harvard/Brigham Women’s hospital had shown that over an eighteen-month period, three times as many Women stuck with a diet that included peanut butter or peanuts, because of a hunger curbing effects.
Peanuts contain about 2 grams of fiber per tablespoon and when spread on two slices of whole-wheat bread, deliver six grams of fiber. Peanut butter makes some yummy sauces. The barbecued ribs a group of scientists and I prepared during a recent weekend at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in California’s Napa Valley where the best I have ever eaten.
The term refers to coconut, palm kernel and palm oils. These oils contain a variety of fatty acids, but unlike olive, macadamia and peanut oils, which contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and are liquid at room temperature; tropical oils have high levels of saturated fats and are solid at room temperature. They are gaining popularity as food manufacturers push to replace hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats. The latest hoopla over coconut oil has been its inclusion in weight loss regimens. Two books featuring coconut products have hit bestseller lists. Moderate increase of tropical oils including coconut and palm appear to improve blood lipid profiles largely because of their high lauric acid content.
The health benefits of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) such as caprylic and lauric have been known for some time. Lauric acid has been found to improve blood lipids and red palm oil is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and tocotrienols, the vitamin E active constituent. However, there is concern among some experts that eating to many saturated fats, including the tropical oils used to make trans fat free margarine and shortening, can have deleterious effects on cardiovascular health.
In addition, there are differences in processing palm and palm kernel oils that make some choices unhealthy. According to Dr. Andrew Weil palm oil is a better choice than palm kernel oil because chemical solvents are needed to extract palm kernel oil while none are required to press the oil from palm fruit. Fractionation is used to process palm and palm kernel oil and eliminates many of their natural antioxidants, which makes them the least desirable of the tropical oils. It seems prudent to check ingredient labels for fractionated palm kernel oil and avoid it. Best of all, look for Now Organic Coconut Oil that has an impressive resume for boosting immunity. It also has a distinctive flavor to foods prepared with an eastern Indian theme.
Rutozym - Systemic Enzyme Supplement with Nattokinase
February 22, 2006 05:08 PM
Natural Progesterone and Other Menstrual Disorders
July 25, 2005 10:08 PM
Natural Progesterone and Other Menstrual Disorders
Natural progesterone can contribute to restoring normal menstrual cycling in certain cases. Many young Women suffer from amenorrhea, which is the absence of the menstrual period due to an excess of strenuous exercise or a hormonal imbalance. Using natural progesterone can help to achieve the proper estrogen/progesterone ratios needed to initiate normal cycling. Frequently, supplementation needs to occur over several months before normal cycling will be achieved. In addition, women who suffer from irregular periods or prolonged periods can benefit from the action of natural progesterone. Remember, that initially, cycles may become worse rather than better, but with continued use, the prospect for normalizing the menstrual cycle is good if no other contributing factors exist.
THE FERTILITY LINK
Natural progesterone supplementation may also be beneficial for infertility. Women who suffer from repeated miscarriages or have a difficult time conceiving should be checked for a progesterone deficiency. It is advisable to check your progesterone levels before taking potent fertility drugs or synthetic hormones. Using natural progesterone is suggested as an initial therapy.
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
July 25, 2005 10:06 PM
WHY DO SO MANYWomen sUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
The question of why so many women, young and old, suffer from a hormonal imbalance persists. Today’s environment and life style are certainly significant causal factors and explain, to a great degree why even young, seemingly healthy women may experience a lack of progesterone.
Dr. Peter Elliston of the Harvard Anthropology Department found through one of his studies of 18 women who all had regular menstrual cycles that seven of them did not experience a mid cycle increase in progesterone levels, suggesting that ovulation did not actually occur.12 Dr. Lee cites this as yet another example of the widespread incidence of anovulatory cycles occurring in young women throughout this country, a fact which is undoubtedly linked to rising infertility rates in the United States. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, widespread use of birth control pills, stress, pollution, etc., contribute to hormonally-related disorders and most certainly affect progesterone production, the ability to conceive and menopausal transitions.
CAUSES OF HORMONE IMBALANCES
Dr. Lee believes that widespread use of the birth control pill has caused the ovaries to be compromised, possibly playing a role in the development of PMS that would normally not exist.13 Documented results from using natural progesterone have been impressive but remain relatively unknown by the majority of women. Progesterone therapy can help relieve the following PMS symptoms: breast engorgement, breast tenderness, irritability, headaches, depression, moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, water retention, cramps, and irregular periods.
Dr. Joel T. Hargrove of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has had some very impressive results using natural progesterone to treat his patients with PMS. He has had a 90 percent success rate using this form of progesterone.14 Interestingly, he used oral progesterone which had to be administered in a much heavier dose to achieve the same results Dr. Lee obtained with transdermal progesterone.15
Estrogen: The Hidden Culprit
July 25, 2005 09:45 PM
Estrogen: The Hidden Culprit
As mentioned, many women who suffer from a whole myriad of perplexing and distressing symptoms can be unsuspecting victims of an estrogen dominance. It is important to keep in mind that when estrogen is not balanced out by adequate amounts of progesterone, a whole array of diverse symptoms may develop, many of which are easily misdiagnosed and subsequently, mistreated.
In addition, we hear so much about keeping our estrogen levels up as we approach menopause, we rarely consider the fact that we may be suffering from an estrogen overload during pre-menopausal years. Most physicians neglect to discuss the very real effect of an estrogen dominance, but I can assure you that it is all too real. Enduring very heavy periods, developing sore and tender breasts, retaining water, bloating and serious bouts with depression are more of a problem for many pre-menopausal women in their forties than one would assume. In addition, most of us are unaware of the fact that a woman can have regular periods and not be ovulating. A continued lack of ovulation or impaired ovulation can also create a progesterone deficiency leading to an abnormal buildup of the uterine lining which is never sufficiently shed. The incomplete removal of the endometrium can lead to endometriosis, uterine fibroid cysts, fibrocystic breasts, bloating, depression, heavy or irregular periods and possible malignancies.
IS ALL ESTROGEN BAD?
Certainly, all estrogen is not bad; however, it would seem that most Women suffer from a dominance of estrogen and a lack of progesterone. Estrogen is the hormone that initiates female puberty, causing the development of the breast, uterus, fallopian tubes etc. It also contributes to female fat distribution. Prior to menopause, estrogen levels drop causing an eventual cessation of the menstrual period.
Most conventional physicians will recommend estrogen replacement therapy to offset the risk of osteoporosis and to prevent cardiovascular disease, two actions which are still questioned in many scientific circles. The focus on estrogen therapy may be misguided in many cases. More and more evidence points to the fact that when progesterone levels are where they should be, conditions like PMS, osteoporosis, etc. dramatically improve. Unopposed or synthetic estrogen poses a number of health risks which most women will recognize immediately through their own personal experience.
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
July 25, 2005 09:43 PM
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
The very delicate relationship between progesterone and estrogen levels is what creates hormonal balance. Today we frequently hear the phrase, “she’s suffering from a hormonal imbalance.” What exactly does a hormonal imbalance imply, and why is it so prevalent among women of all ages? The simple truth is that our twentieth-century life style creates a great deal of health risks not previously experienced by earlier generations.
Many of these new, modern factors adversely effect our endocrine systems, not to mention our overall health as well. Consequently, when we need to synthesize certain levels of progesterone, we may be lacking the proper nutrients or, as may be the case with women who have used birth control pills, our ovarian functions may be impaired. As a result, an excess of estrogen may develop predisposing us to a number of unpleasant symptoms. Unprecedented degrees of mental stress combined with exposure to toxins, pollutants, preservatives, chemicals, and drugs can impair a woman’s ability to produce progesterone. In addition, the consumption of sugary foods lacking in whole grains, overcooked, over processed, and fatty foods devoid of the raw enzymes we were meant to ingest can also wreak havoc with our glandular health. The consumption of hormonally fattened beef and poultry is certainly a concern, and may explain why premature puberty occurs in some children who are exposed to unnatural sources of animal estrogen.
Why is there more infertility now that ever before? Why do seemingly healthy young Women suffer from all sorts of menstrual disorders and unprecedented levels of PMS? Why is osteoporosis such a threat today, and why is breast cancer killing so many relatively young women? Why do so many of us plow through perimenopause and postmenopause, perplexed by a wide variety of ills that threaten our emotional and physical well-being? All of these questions are profoundly linked to hormonal factors and almost always reflect an estrogen dominance and a progesterone deficiency.
I did not know that such a scenario even existed and like most women, did not understand that too much of certain kinds of estrogen can be extremely harmful. Furthermore, because I assumed that estrogen levels continued to decline as I got older, I never considered the possibility of a pre-menopausal estrogen overload. It is crucial to remember that when estrogen is unopposed by adequate levels of progesterone, a hormonal imbalance occurs. Unopposed estrogen is undesirable to say the least, and explains why so many Women suffer from estrogen-related ills even as they approach menopause.
Progesterone: Ignorance Is Not Bliss
July 25, 2005 09:42 PM
Progesterone: Ignorance Is Not Bliss
Has anyone ever asked you if you might be suffering from a progesterone deficiency? Women ranging in age from 12 to 100 may be subject to low progesterone levels and as a result, can suffer from a whole host of mysterious ills related to a hormonal imbalance. While most women are fairly informed about birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy with all of its controversy, few of us understand the very profound role progesterone plays in determining our overall health. Moreover, the therapeutic effects of natural progesterone remain relatively unknown and untapped. Of even more significance is that a growing number of Women seem to be suffering from progesterone depletion and estrogen dominance. If you’re like I was, this notion struck me as a completely new concept. I can say now, in retrospect, that this bit of knowledge is clearly one of the most important pieces of information I have had the opportunity to research. So many symptoms that women have to endure are readily branded as just part of inevitable PMS or worse yet, products of an overactive imagination or emerging psychosis. It is has been through my own personal experience with terrible mood swings, horrendous periods and all sorts of miserable hormonal demons that I have come to write this booklet. Make no mistake however, the information contained herein is based on scientific fact and is backed by the experience of medical doctors. More than any other physician or scientist, Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. has pioneered and documented his remarkable results using natural progesterone from wild yam for his female patients. To say the very least, his findings have profound health implications for all women.
Natural plant-based progesterone may well be the most important breakthrough therapy for women to come out of the latter twentieth century. Ironically, its use from botanical sources has a long tried and true history. Like so many valuable natural treatments, the value of plant-based progesterones have been virtually ignored by modern medical practices.
Unfortunately, most physicians focus on the use of synthetic estrogen or artificial progestins to manage female disorders such as osteoporosis when, in reality, progesterone may be the key hormone. Ironically, natural progesterone, unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, offers an impressive array of therapeutic actions with complete safety and efficacy. As previously mentioned, mainstream medicine continues to overlook the use of natural phytoestrogens which can offer practical treatment of hormonally-related disorders without negative side effects.
These simple plant-based medicinals have been used for generations by women of almost every culture and for good reason. These botanicals have been able to support the special health needs of both pre-and post-menopausal women with little or no side effects. Progesterone plays a profoundly more critical role in the maintenance of female health than previously assumed. Too little of this vital female hormone can lead to all kinds of menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriages, osteoporosis and even cancer. Progesterone deficiencies are much more common that most of us would assume, even in younger women. Replenishing progesterone in its natural form is a safe and effective way of relieving a whole host of female symptoms ranging from the mildly annoying to the seriously debilitating. Simply stated: there are viable alternatives to popping synthetic hormones for problems like PMS or menopausal distress. In many cases, specific plant-based hormone creams can achieve better results without the significant health risks associated with synthetic hormonal analogues.
Today, the use of natural progesterone is dramatically growing as women and health practitioners alike become disillusioned with synthetic hormonal therapies. Using pharmaceutical estrogen has proven to be rather disappointing in treating osteoporosis.1 In addition, the controversy over the safety of birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopause rages on. In the midst of much misinformation concerning artificial hormonal drugs, plants like wild yam are being reconsidered and reevaluated for their intrinsic value.
Ironically, modern technological manipulations of these natural phytochemicals has resulted in more potency and more risk to the human body which was not designed to cope with artificial compounds. It turns out that ancient civilizations who turned to botanicals for female ills understood the value of natural therapies. In the face of high-tech pharmaceutical imitations, it turns out that Mother Nature knew what she was doing after all.
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
June 25, 2005 08:38 PM
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are found in both plant and animal sources, although primarily in plants. The EFA family is composed of two main forms, Omega-3 and Omega-6. The following explains exactly what these forms are.
OMEGA-3: The most common forms of Omega-3 are eicosapentaenioic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid, which comes from plants and helps create EPA and DHA. Omega-3 is usually derived from fish oils. Dr. Roger Illingworth, associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at Oregon Health Sciences University, explains that Omega-3 fatty acids are “long-chained metabolic products from linolenic acid. . . When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega-3.” EPA and DHA are liquid and remain that way, even at room temperature. It is said that they protect fish by providing a body fat that stays fluid even in cold temperatures. OMEGA-6: The most common form of Omega-6 is is gammalinolenic acid (GLA). GLA is known to provide the following benefits, among many others:
Omega-6 is usually found in plant sources. The oils of coldwater fish such as salmon, bluefish, herring, tuna, mackerel and similar fish are known as Omega-3 fatty acids. The freshpressed oils of many raw seeds and nuts contain Omega-6 fatty acids. The most popular sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 include:
BLACK CURRANT SEED OIL: This oil is rich in linoleic acid (44%) and provides almost twice as much gamma-linolenic acid as evening primrose oil. Black currant seed oil also is an excellent source of an Omega-3 precursor known as stearidonic acid. BORAGE OIL: This oil comes from Borago officinalis, a plant with blue flowers. It is widely recommended in Europe to strengthen the adrenal glands, alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and relieve inflammation. Besides possibly helping with heart and joint function, it may also assist the growth of nails and hair. Borage oil is also an excellent source of GLA. In The Complete Medicinal Herbal, herbalist Penelope Ody asserts that it is “helpful in some cases of menstrual irregularity, for irritable bowel syndrome, or as emergency first aid for hangovers.” SALMON OIL: This oil is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These types of EFAs are known to thin the blood, prevent clotting, regulate cholesterol production and strengthen cell walls, making them less susceptible to viral and bacterial invasion. Salmon oil has a natural ability to help the body relieve inflammation. In the ground-breaking book The Omega-3 Breakthrough: The Revolutionary, Medically Proven Fish Oil Diet, professor Roger Illingworth writes that Linolenic acid is a fatty acid with 18 carbons and 3 double bonds.
It is manufactured exclusively by plants. When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega- 3. Plankton, a minute form of marine life, is part plant and part animal. Its plant component manufactures linolenic acid. Fish eat the plankton, and the linolenic acid breaks down in their bodies in two types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) . . . The liquidity of EPA and DHA serves a vital function in fish, who require body fat that remains fluid even in very cold water. Fish oils, besides containing Omega-3 fatty acids, have shown to benefit those suffering from migraine headaches, arthritis, and high cholesterol levels.
FLAX: Flax is a plant said to date back as far as 5000 B.C. It has been used since approximately 5000 B.C., making it one of the oldest cultivated crops. It is exported from several countries, including Argentina, Canada, India, Russia and the United States. The flowers are usually blue, although they are sometimes white or pink. The mucilaginous seed is, of course, called flaxseed. The oil primarily provides Omega-3/linolenic acid, and provides an average of 57 percent Omega-3, 16 percent Omega-6, and 18 percent of the non-essential Omega-9. Flaxseed oil is said to contain rich amounts of beta carotene (about 4,300 IU per tablespoon) and vitamin E (about 15 IU per tablespoon). In the October 1995 issue of Let’s Live, the history and uses of flax were highlighted by herbalist Carla Cassata. She writes, . . . It’s no wonder the Cherokee Indians highly valued the flax plant. They mixed flaxseed oil with either goat or moose milk, honey and cooked pumpkin to nourish pregnant and nursing mothers, providing them with the needed nutrients for creating strong and healthy children. It was also given to people who had skin diseases, arthritis, malnutrition as well as men wishing to increase virility. They believed flax captured energies from the sun that could then be released and used in the body’s metabolic process.
This belief has merit. Flaxseed oil, rich in electrons, strongly attracts photons from sunlight. To be effective, EFAs must be combined with protein at the same meal. This flaxseed oil/protein/ sunlight combination releases energy and enhances the body’s electrical system. Also, this combination, along with vitamin E, can be beneficial for infertile couples and Women suffering from premenstrual syndrome . . . Flaxseed oil, having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, can benefit the 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To achieve optimum results, however, substances that activate the sympathetic nervous system—like refined sugar, soda, coffee, fluoride— must be eliminated. Stress must also be reduced, because it too, activates the sympathetic nervous system, promoting inflammation.
EVENING PRIMROSE: This flower is indigenous to North America, although the oil is particularly popular throughout Europe for therapeutic purposes. It is also known as night wil - low and evening star. It is an excellent source of both linolenic and linoleic acids. Both of these nutrients must be obtained from the diet, as the body cannot synthesize them. The seeds contain gamma linolenic acid. This polyunsaturated EFA helps with the production of energy and is a structural component of the brain, bone marrow, muscles and cell membranes. Evening primrose oil has also benefited those with multiple sclerosis, PMS, hyperactivity and obesity. It is estimated that it takes about 5,000 seeds to produce the oil for one 500 mg capsule.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that Women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the Women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, Women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the Women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.